The National Gambling Helpline is to see its hours extended from next month, with the service set to become operational 24 hours a day from today.

This comes as the GamCare operated and GambleAware funded entity received in excess of 30,000 calls during 2018/9, a figure which is rising year on year.

Consisting of both a live chat and freephone channel, the National Gambling Helpline provides advice, information and support to those suffering from gambling related harm, whether their own or someone else’s.

Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare, explained: “It is important that treatment and support services reflect the availability of gambling. As such, we are delighted to be able to extend the hours of operation of the National Gambling Helpline to further support those affected by gambling related harm. 

“With the 24-hour nature of gambling, people sometimes feel at their most isolated overnight, when other support services are closed. They will now be able to reach our highly trained advisers 24 hours a day, who can offer immediate support, advice and referral to our network of treatment services nationally.”

The Gambling Commission estimates there are around 340,000 problem gamblers nationally, with up to two million at risk of developing an issue, with the extended hours necessary to reflect the need for added availability and support.

Helpline advisers respond to caller’s needs, giving them space to listen and explore their issues in confidence. Advisers can provide support online, by telephone and, should people need, can also connect callers with local treatment services.

“GambleAware is responsible for commissioning the National Gambling Helpline, which is a core element of an emerging National Gambling Treatment Service,” noted Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware

“Our priority is to keep people safe and to ensure support services are easily accessible. As such, we are pleased to be funding an extension to the helpline’s operating hours, and we will evaluate its performance over time.”